History of Pneumatic Tools

pneumatic tools

Pneumatic instruments are various devices and tools that utilise and generate compressed air. They can be found everywhere, especially in many invented contraptions throughout history. However, they remain somewhat unknown to the public.


The hand bellows were the first pneumatic tools used by early smelters and blacksmiths for working on metals and iron. By the 17th century, it was Otto von Guericke, a German physicist and engineer, who improved and experimented with air compressors. He invented the first air pump in 1650, which could produce a partial vacuum. He used it in studying the phenomenon of vacuum as well as the role of air in respiration and combustion.

In 1829, the very first stage or compound air compressor that compresses air in cylinders that are in succession was patented. 43 years later, the compressor efficiency was improved by having the cylinders cooled by water jets, leading to the invention of cylinders that are water-jacketed.

Pneumatic tubes, the best-known pneumatic device, function by transporting objects using compressed air. Before, they were often used in big office buildings to transport objects and messages from one office to another.

It was in the United States when the first documented authentic pneumatic tube was officially listed in a 1940 patent, a vehicle with wheels positioned within a tube. And in 1865, a pneumatic train subway (a giant pneumatic tube) was built in New York City by Alfred Beach based on his 1865 invention. It was considered the first subway in America and ran for a short time in 1870.

There was this invention called a cash carrier used to send money in tubes that are small in size. It travels from location to location through air compression. On July 13, 1875, D. Brown invented the first mechanical carriers that solely work in store services. Until an inventor called Martin made improvements in the system in 1822, which brought the invention to popularity.

In 1871, a pneumatic drill was created. Later in 1890, the pneumatic hammer, a hammer driven by compressed air, was invented. In 1893, the Worlds Columbia Exposition happened, where a steel brake beam for railroad road cars and a pneumatic hammer for caulking and riveting was exhibited.

The number of compressed air and compressed-air devices has increased since. In jet engines, there are axial-flow and centrifugal compressors. Pneumatics are used almost everywhere, including automatic control systems, automatic machinery, and labour-saving devices.

Find out what the future of pneumatic tools is in our next article.

Master Mac 2000 Logo

About MasterMac2000: Your Trusted Pneumatic & Process Automation Partner.

LEADING THE INDUSTRY: Established in 1989, MasterMac2000 has grown to become one of Australia's largest privately owned pneumatic and process automation companies. We stock top-quality brands like Univer, Mack, Tolomatic, Mac, Piab, American, and Rotoflux in Brisbane.

SERVING QLD & NORTHERN NSW: We proudly service Queensland and Northern New South Wales for all your pneumatic and process equipment needs. Our mission is to provide the best pre and post-sales support while actively expanding our client base.

SOURCING HARD-TO-FIND PARTS: Not only do we stock quality components, but we also excel at sourcing those elusive, hard-to-find parts. With our extensive database and global network of contacts, getting the parts you require is as easy as a call to our highly skilled, professional sales team.


  • Decades of expertise in pneumatics & process automation
  • Carefully curated selection of world-class brands
  • Exceptional sourcing capabilities for speciality parts
  • Knowledgeable sales staff dedicated to finding solutions
  • Unwavering commitment to customer service excellence

About The Author

Stuart Havill

Stuart Havill is the owner and manager of MasterMac2000, Queensland's largest privately owned pneumatic and process valve company.

With his early working career as a maintenance fitter for Boral in 1992, Stuart has spent his life in the field of pneumatics and process equipment. He gained extensive experience in plant design, maintenance, repairs, fabrication, and site management.

In 1996, he transitioned to a pneumatic sales technician role at MasterMac2000, where he excelled in key account management, providing cost-effective solutions, and managing a sales team of 9 employees.

Since 2002, Stuart has been the manager at MasterMac2000, overseeing the company's growth and establishing it as a leader in pneumatic automation and process valve engineering. His expertise spans customer training, CRM setup, industrial compressor sizing and installation, and turn-key project management.

Under Stuart's leadership, MasterMac2000 has been servicing the industry since 1988, with 5 full-time sales representatives covering northern rivers NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, and PNG. The company prides itself on providing the best-priced solutions to all customers in the marketplace.

View Stuart’s LinkedIn profile to learn more about his expertise in pneumatics and process equipment.

Leave a Comment